NASA Mission to Observe the Sun's Rays

By: Gizbot Bureau

Toronto, Dec 9 (IANS) A NASA funded mission is all set to be launched Tuesday that would take a 15-minute flight to observe the Sun and examine its rays.

Scheduled to be launched from White Sands missile range in New Mexico aboard a sounding rocket, the Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI) will collect six minutes worth of data during the short flight, the US space agency said in a statement.

NASA Mission to Observe the Sun's Rays

Sounding rockets offer short trips for relatively low prices.

The collaboration between the US and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency will focus on high energy X-rays from the Sun that, until recently, no one has been able to study.

FOXSI will allow scientists to gather data about rays that cannot be seen from the ground as they are blocked by the Earth's atmosphere.

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Researchers want to understand the energy releases as they contribute to immense explosions on the Sun that could send particles and energy towards Earth.

The energy also heats up the Sun's atmosphere to temperatures 1,000 times hotter than the surface of the Sun itself.

Compared to an earlier mission in 2012, the optical instruments on FOXSI are more sensitive and the upgraded detectors are built by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency using new materials.

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